Only days into the new school year, and already anti-Israel activists are making a splash on college campuses from one corner of the country to the other. Two reports today confirm that activists with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, commonly referred to as the BDS Movement, are maintaining their efforts to silence any voices that may express pro-Israel positions on campuses.
In the first case, first reported by the Atlantic, a prominent Israeli filmmaker was uninvited from a conference on Religion and Film at Syracuse University in New York because one of its organizers feared retaliation from BDS supporters on campus.
The filmmaker, Shimon Dotan, was initially invited to the March 2017 conference to screen his film, The Settlers, about the history of the religious settler movement in the West Bank. The film has been widely praised by critics as “one of the first close-up views of the motives and personalities in a group that rarely opens up to outsiders,” said the New York Times.
A few weeks after the invitation went out, however, Professor M. Gail Hamner, a member of the Syracuse University Religion Department, emailed Dotan and said he was not welcome after all.
“I now am embarrassed to share that my SU colleagues, on hearing about my attempt to secure your presentation, have warned me that the BDS faction on campus will make matters very unpleasant for you and for me if you come,” Hamner said in an email to Dotan that was obtained by the Atlantic.
Hamner admitted that she had not even seen the film, but that allowing its screening on campus would cause her to “lose credibility with a number of my film and Women/Gender studies colleagues.”